Are you a smoker… and a singer? Has it been an ongoing nagging question if smoking does affect your singing voice?
Or are you just getting started with singing and still fancy to light up a cigarette once in a while?
Sure, smoking on stage looks cool and can make you feel like a rock star. But is it really a good idea?
There’s a lot of talking about vocal health and how to keep in shape to ensure you’ll have a long-lasting singing career.
Does smoking really affect your singing voice? And if yes, to which extent?
In the next few paragraphs, I will address these questions and shed a smoky light on this sensitive discussion.
Are Singers Prone To Smoking?
Currently, there are one billion smokers worldwide.
While you might think that the lifestyle of artists…like heavy partying… would result a higher rate of smokers, recent statistical outcomes paint a different picture.
Because, according to multiple surveys, singers are just in the mid-range of all professions, with ranging smoker rates between 14 to 17%.
Graphic by vapourlites.com
Since 1974 the proportion of smokers, who have quit, consistently outweighs the proportion of current smokers.
When you look at the vast amount of anti-smoking campaigns and restrictions that were put in place over the last years…that’s not really surprising, though.
Smoke Your Way to A Lower Voice
I found some interesting studies conducted with smokers and non-smokers.
They measured different vocal parameters, e.g. fundamental frequency to analyze the impact of smoking on the voice.
Results of a Brazilian study showed, that in a relatively short time period (< 10 years), fundamental frequency parameters were significantly decreased in all smoking groups.
The effect was especially seen in female smokers, which had a frequency decrease of 14Hz on average, compared to the non-smoker group.
So, what that really means is…
If you smoke for a couple of years, your voice gets deeper and you lose some of your brilliant high notes. The vocal change is considered to be a result of vocal edemas due to tobacco exposure.
But you are not alone…
Did You Know These Brilliant Artists Smoke?
When you take a look at some popular singers, you may be surprised, who else is or was a smoker.
Nat King Cole
Enrico Caruso (!)
Ronnie James Dio
The Rat Pack
Well, some could draw the conclusion that you can still be a stunning singer and chain smoker at the same time?
I personally wouldn’t go that far.
But let me ask you some interesting questions…
– How could one of the best tenors of all time, Enrico Caruso, be a heavy smoker and still deliver the best high C performances night after night after night?
– How could someone like Dean Martin, who eventually died of lung cancer, keep his unique smooth voice throughout his entire career?
Probably they knew the secret of…
How To Smoke Like a Chimney And Still Sing Like An Angel
If you can’t or don’t want to quit smoking, you should take at least some actions to keep your voice in good shape.
The best method to prevent your voice from falling apart due to smoking is learning and using a solid and healthy vocal technique.
If you’re able to use the airflow and sing efficiently with only minor engagement, you will experience a world of maximum outcome with only little effort.
Moreover, alcohol has a much deeper immediate impact on the vocal cords than cigarettes will ever do.
Remember the last morning after a boozy night. When you woke up to answer the phone…and you sounded like Barry White?
Well, that’s the result of swollen vocal cords. And if you want to double that effect, smoking and drinking will do it for you.
I Was a Smoker For 15 Years
Hell yes, no need to hold anything back here.
I’d been smoking for fifteen years straight. My daily dose of nicotine was roughly a pack.
Throughout my “smoking career”, I started taking voice lessons. Over the course of 10 years, smoking and singing overlapped. There was one single year, where I stopped smoking for the first time.
But here’s something surprising…
Interestingly, I didn’t notice that big of a difference when I was still smoking and the time after I quit.
Neither did I have a clearer voice, nor did I experience more ease/more struggle within my given vocal range.
That lead me to my personal conclusion, that the effects smoking has on your vocal skills might probably not be as dramatic as claimed.
On the other hand…
I’ve never been a heavy-touring singer, who had to push himself to his limits… night after night. So, that might have had an additional impact on my roasted voice.
If you take a close look at the effects smoking can have on your singing voice, there is no one truth.
There is some scientific proof, smoking over several years, can cause vocal edemas, which results in a lower voice.
On the other hand, there are multiple examples of famous singers, who heavily smoked and yet kept their voices on a high level throughout their entire careers.
Now, here’s my personal take on it…
We all know it: Smoking is a bad, unhealthy and unnecessary habit with the potential to seriously harm your health.
There are exactly ZERO good reasons why you should smoke at all.
And I think there are better ways to spend your hard-earned money.
I’m very happy I took the plunge years ago and got rid of my yellow, stinky fingers and this annoying craving for the next puff.
Well, I don’t know about you.
If it doesn’t bother you, just go on and keep doing it as long as you want. You probably will have some good vocal years ahead.
But if you want to take back full control of your life, health and breath… then a proven quit smoking program may help you on your way.
Just click the link below and kick your cigarettes out of your house and out of your mind.
1. Cigarette Smoking Trends Among U.S. Working Adult by Industry and Occupation: Findings From the 2004–2012 National Hehttps://296adan6tla9ukc9u8uaex9t3z.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=MVS02alth Interview Survey; Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 May; 17(5): 599–606.
3. Office for national statistics: Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2017
4. Early effects of smoking on the voice:A multidimensional study; Med Sci Monit,2004;10(12):CR649-656
Did you like what you just read? Are you a singing smoker or have you quit, already?
Tell me what you think about this topic and/or your experiences. I’m curious!